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Freud's Last Session


Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Matthew Goode, Liv Lisa Fries, Jeremy Northam, Jodi Balfour, Orla Brady, Stephen Campbell Moore

Director: Matthew Brown

A talky but frequently engrossing character study, based rather obviously on a play that posits Sigmund Freud (Hopkins), at the end of his life, in a (probably fictitious) meeting with author C S Lewis (Goode), later to write the Narnia novels.

Freud, of course, firmly believes that God does not exist, whereas Lewis just as resolutely holds the opposite view. On the day that WW2 will be declared, the two men examine each other's backgrounds, outlining their strengths and weaknesses, while Freud's daughter and carer, Anna (Fries), a clinical psychologist, rushes back from work to give him vital medicine, and to reveal her lesbian relationship before he dies.

Hopkins is more Hopkins than Freud, complete with those little intakes of breath that punctuate his conversation, but watchable as always. 'I believe,' he tells Lewis, 'that what people tell me is far less interesting than what they choose not to tell me.'

Both men are intransigent in their Godly views, although Lewis's attitude is 'How does religion make room for science, when science has no room for religion? - to which Freud can find no answer.

Shot in muted colours, the film threatens to be dreary at times, but the mental jousting of its two protagonists is what keeps it going.

David Quinlan

Ireland/UK 2023. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour (unspecified).
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 11 Jun 2024